Ant Financial, the financial technology branch of China e-commerce company Alibaba, has agreed to become a holding company, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.
An official announcement could come in less than two weeks - just ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday - according to people familiar with the matter.
Last month, Ant Group submitted a plan of the proposed restructuring to regulators that will place the company under harsher capital requirements.
At the time, Reuters reported that the plan could be finalized by mid-February.
Rumors of restructuring as a holding company circulated in late December and followed a plan drawn up by Ant itself in its August initial public offering prospectus suggesting it might set up a unit to apply for the necessary licenses.
As a financial holding company, Ant Group will be subject to strict regulatory oversight similar to what Chinese banks must abide by.
The news comes on the heels of Alibaba's quarterly report, revealing a 52% third quarter year-over-year rise in net profit attributable to shareholders Tuesday, with profits reaching $12.17 billion.
Regulators derailed its $37 billion initial public offering in November and have since sought to contain the expansive e-commerce companies of founder Jack Ma, citing a lack of regulation in Ant's consumer lending and wealth management sectors.
Financial regulation has been a bug bear for Ma, who criticized the Chinese system as antiquated. "Good innovations are not afraid of supervision, but they do fear outdated supervision," he said at a financial summit in Shanghai Oct. 24, 2020. "Today the world, especially China, needs a lot of policy experts, but not experts in red-tape."
Days later, the much-anticipated dual listing of Alibaba fintech offshoot Ant Group on the Hong Kong and Shanghai bourses was delayed indefinitely by regulators.
The entrepreneur made his first public appearance in months last week in a short clip circulated by Chinese state media groups in which he congratulated recipients of awards from the Jack Ma Charitable Foundation.